House Intelligence Committee report accuses James Clapper of ‘inconsistent’ testimony on the Steele dossier

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence and Lt. Gen. Vincent Stuart, Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency, testify during a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on February 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. Evy Mages/Getty Images
  • Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper spoke to CNN about the Steele dossier, a House Intelligence Committee report claimed Friday.
  • The House Intelligence Committee released the report detailing its findings in the panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper spoke to CNN about the so-called Steele dossier, according to a House Intelligence Committee report released Friday, which accused Clapper of “inconsistent testimony” over the issue.

The House Intelligence Committee on Friday released a report detailing its findings in the panel’s Russia investigation, ending its politically charged probe. In the report, the committee said that Clapper may have misled investigators about his contacts with the media.

The report specifically claimed Clapper spoke with CNN’s Jake Tapper about the dossier while still in his position. That would contradict Clapper’s statement in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon in March, when he said he did not interact with the media about the dossier prior to leaving his position with the Obama administration.

The dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, contains unverified allegations pointing to collusion between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian officials. The dossier has come under intense scrutiny because of its source of financing. One round of Steele’s research was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign through an outside firm, which Republicans say makes the document politically motivated.

According to the report:

“On January 10, 2017, CNN published an article by Tapper and others, which claimed that ‘classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations … about Mr. Trump’ that were (1) ‘presented in a two-page synopsis … appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election’ and (2) derived from ‘memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative.'”

BuzzFeed published the full dossier after CNN’s report.

“The Committee assesses that leaks to CNN about the dossier were especially significant, since CNN’s report ‘that two page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump’ was the proximate cause of BuzzFeed News’ decision to publish the dossier for the first time just a few hours later,” the report said.

The House Intelligence Committee’s report said Russia was responsible for carrying out cyberattacks against the US, disseminating hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, and launching a social media disinformation campaign – findings that largely echo parts of the US intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

But the committee’s conclusions about whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow left out critical context and painted an incomplete picture of the scope of the campaign’s contacts with Russians.